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Nicky's Pizzeria Rustica & Golden Boy taste-off (Grana Padano or mozzarella)

rworange | May 21, 200612:04 AM

Wow, is Nicky’s in the wrong location or what? Put this place in the Financial District or North Beach or Soma and it would be getting raves.

People would be lining up around the block … organic, top-grade ingredients on a brick oven rustic pizza with a crust to die for.

Stop by at the right time you can get a glimpse of the kitchen chopping up the pork for the house-made sausages. The mozzarella is house-made too and the flavor is pure goodness. Wash it down with a $7 glass of Borolo. The current menu is at the bottom of this post.

But don’t put it next to Nicky’s Crispy Tacos with a twenty-something crowd who complains that

- the pizza is not round
- it is not New York pizza, you can’t fold it
- it is not hot from the oven, they reheat it
- it isn’t open late enough when you want a greasy slice after drinking
- it is not a greasy slice
- porcini, shitake and portabella mushrooms are too fru-fru
- what’s gran padano?
- there is not enough sauce

One comment that says it all … Nick should buy Rouge and turn the two places into one … like an organic Taco Bell/Pizza Hut.

Nicky’s is the same style as Golden Boy, rustica … foccacia-like squares with a crisp olive oil crust, brushed with sauce, lightly topped with cheese.

I confess that I’m not a fan of this style of pizza. I wasn’t even crazy about it in Italy because, uh, it is not round, it is not hot from the oven, there is too much crust and not enough sauce and cheese.

That being said, I think it is mislabeled. Don’t call it pizza, call it foccacia and you’d have people salivating over the best foccacia they ever tried. It is about overcoming the expectations that come with the word pizza with riff-raff like me.

I never tried Nicky’s or Golden Boy, so I did a side-by-side taste of the sausage pizza. No contest. It is like comparing Acme to Boudin. Both are good, just on different levels.

Nicky’s - $4.50 organic, seasonal high-quality ingredients
Golden Boy - $3 – like when Golden Boy started, who knew ever heard of organic?

Sauce: It is hard to tell because this style of pizza has so little sauce. Golden Boy has a good tomato flavor … but, Nicky’s … Nicky’s is full of fresh herb accents and garlic. The man should open a real Italian restaurant. That sauce and that sausage on good pasta would really be something.

Cheese; Golden Boy had the standard, respectable mozzarella. The freshness and flavor popped out with Nicky’s. It was like buttah.

Sausage: Nicky’s is flat-out great, nice fennel flavor, with a bit of heat and delicious juicy meat. The slice had at least eight generous pieces of it. Golden Boy had four little pieces which was a respectable Italian hot sausage with a bit of fennel. However, again it was just in a different class from Nicky’s.

Crust: Golden Boy is light and yeasty. The crust is brushed with olive oil. I haven’t had a crust like Nicky’s before. It is a little chewy with lots of olive oil which gives it a crisp bottom.

Extras: Golden Boy - not much except what looked like some black pepper in the crust. Nicky’s had tiny touches of sweet, intensely-flavored brick-oven roasted peppers and caramelized onions. Tiny pieces of chopped fresh basil were scattered on top

Service: Nicky’s is just wonderful and has a friendly staff. It is the one constant on the web. Can’t comment on Golden Boy because I was on the look-out for meter people so they fulfilled my requirements – out quickly. No ticket.

The one BIG problem is that there is virtually no seating at Nicky’s. There are two side-walk tables and a few uncomfortable stools at the window. There is a long bar where you can stand to eat.

This is not the type of pizza you want to be wolfing down standing up at the bar and gulping down that glass of Borolo. The picture on cityscape below makes the place look way too large. I suppose you could order something next door at Nick’s Crispy Tacos and then eat over there. Not sure if they would allow you to take a glass of wine though.

Well, I tried Golden Boy and sure, if I needed a three dollar lunch and I was in North Beach I’d go back, but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

Nicky’s? Let’s say whenever I’m driving up Polk and there is a parking spot even remotely in the area of Nicky’s, I am so there. Makes me wish I lived in the city again. I wonder if Nicky would consider Epicurious Garden in Berkeley.

Nicky's Pizzeria Rustica

415 771-4222
2109 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Tue-Wed 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Thu-Sat 11:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.

Here’s Nicky’s current menu. Pizza is $3 - $4.75 a slice. Whole pie slices are on request.


Cracked marinated olives $1.75

Winter Caprese $4.75
Nicky’s mozzarella, brick oven tomatoes, basil (is that a great idea or what when tomatoes are out of season, use roasted tomatoes)

Blue Lake Beans and Friends $3.75
Semi-traditional bean salad

Chilled roasted beets $4.50
Mandarins, frissee, ricotta salata, shallot vinaigrette

Hearts of Romaine $4.25
Nicky’s Caesar dressing, hand torn croutons, parmesan

Pears & Gorgonzola $4.50
Little lettuces, walnuts, pancetta, currants

Baby artichokes $4.75
Roasted peppers, arugula, peppers

Grilled organic chicken breast $2
Added to your salad


Tre Funghi
Tomato sauce, portabella, shitake, porcini, mozzarella

Winter Margarita
Brick-oven tomatoes, Nicky’s mozzarella, nicoise olives, basil

Italian Sausage and peppers
Housemade sausage, roasted peppers

Spinach and Gorgonzola
Tomato sauce, mozzarella, baby spinach, gorgonzola

Tomato sauce, mozzarella

Quatro Fromaggi
Nicky’s four cheese blend

Tomato sauce, mozzarella, brick-oven tomatoes, nicoise olives, roasted peppers, anchovies

Panchetta and Caramelized Onions
Tomato sauce, mozzarella

Tomato sauce mozzarella, roasted peppers, grilled zucchini, portabella onions, caramelized onions,

Proscuitto e Arugula
Tomato sauce, mozzarella

Tomato sauce, mozzarella, brick-oven tomatoes, artichokes

List of toppings

Brick-oven tomatoes
Portabella mushrooms
Roasted peppers
Nicoise olives
Caramelized onions
Grilled zucchini
Baby spinach
Nicky’s mozzarella
Grana Padano (ok, I didn’t know either - http://www.granapadano.it/ing/index.htm)
Grilled chicken
Parma Procuitto
Housemade Italian sausage
Shitake Mushrooms
Porcini Mushrooms
Roasted Garlic
Kalamata Olives
Sweet onions
Broccoli Rabe
Chicken Milanese

Link: http://sanfrancisco.citysearch.com/re...

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